Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Surprisingly, ‘The Bounty Hunter,’ captures laughs

The Bounty Hunter Trailer, YouTube

Card-carrying member of Hollywood royalty Jennifer Aniston’s new film, “The Bounty Hunter,” is surprisingly good, if you take it at its face value – an extremely overplayed plotline with a mostly A-list cast.

Unfortunately, viewers are put off by the actress and her co-star Gerard Butler trying to hold on to their declining youth.

“The Bounty Hunter” starts off with a promisingly hilarious scene straight from the middle of the movie. Butler’s Milo attempts to run after Nicole (played by Aniston, running surprisingly well for someone in a little black dress and pumps) after being kneed in the groin. This chase culminates with him flat-out tackling her. At this point, viewers are thinking, maybe the movie will be full of laughs, perhaps the couple will have chemistry, and it’s even possible that the plotline of the romantic comedy will be a fresh one.

“The Bounty Hunter,” is extremely overplayed, which is surprising, considering the director. Andy Tennant, known for his work on romantic hits such as “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “Hitch,” fails to bring anything new to the table. His other popular movies were almost revolutionary for the romantic comedy genre, but in this new flick, nothing seems to be new.

Tennant’s film is about a divorced couple, Milo and Nicole; he’s a bounty hunter, she’s a low-level journalist who skips a traffic violation hearing to follow a lead for a story. He is then sent out to arrest her, much to his delight. However, that lead she was following turns out to be dangerous, so the pair must then run from people trying to catch them.

While this sounds like a decent premise for a date movie, or even a guilty pleasure movie rental, it is not worthy of Butler’s and Aniston’s talents. Butler shone in great movies like “300” and “P.S. I Love You,” while Aniston will always be remembered for her small screen work on “Friends” and movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” A separated pair trying to overcome differences while solving a crime? Not memorable.

Things seemed a bit off after the first scene. Though the set up is executed pretty well, and Butler, with his beefcake-like physique, makes a pretty believable bounty hunter, the soundtrack is a bit too young from the beginning. Although Butler played the giddy role well, it’s just odd to see a 40-something-year-old man chasing down criminals to Akon songs, and playing cards to Ke$ha.

To be fair, it does get better, with more mature rock songs by the Rolling Stones and newcomers Cage the Elephant, but “The Bounty Hunter’s” grasp for youth doesn’t end there. Christine Baranski is simply too young to be playing Aniston’s mother. While she’s not young herself, it just seems like too much of a stretch to ignore. And though Nicole was trying to do her job well, a 40-something woman should know enough to not skip out on a court date.

Though the plot should be a fairly simple one, “The Bounty Hunter” soon begins to take too many turns. It’s supposed to be straightforward – a man is sent to haul his ex-wife to prison for $5,000. But soon the plot expands to include crooked cops, loan sharks, tortures and unrequited love by a co-worker who wears out his welcome far too early in the film. It becomes almost confusing.

The element that saves the movie, though, is its spot-on comedic timing. Unfortunately, many of the film’s funniest moments were revealed in the previews, but it’s actually still worth the price of a movie ticket to see the laughs. From a furious Nicole using a stun gun to Milo smearing Dorito crumbs into her pristine white bedroom set, the funnier parts of “The Bounty Hunter” cannot be ignored.

Nor can all the tabloid fodder surrounding the movie. The onscreen couple definitely develops some chemistry as they’re trying to solve crimes, while off screen, there was rumored to be a love connection as well. The question is, will Milo and Nicole reunite and find love again to save each other’s lives?

For the movie aficionados and skeptical fans out there, maybe it might be best to wait until it hits shelves. But if you’re going to waste an afternoon goofing off with friends or a loved one, why not?

Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected].

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